Renee Erickson's restaurants don't generally do a ton of brunch, so the new weekend morning menu at her Capitol Hill den of Normandy-inspired fare and beautiful tilework is especially exciting. It's full of buckwheat crepes, a croque madame, the same burger that's built a fan base next door at Bateau, and doughnuts from General Porpoise plus other baked goods from company pastry whiz Clare Gordon. And, of course, there are oysters.
Thai brunch is such a lovely idea. Some savory dishes easily make the leap into morningtime, like fried rice with Chinese sausage, or the hoi tod mussel omelet. But this stylish Isan spot just off Pike/Pine also serves French toast flavored with Massaman-inspired spices and several iterations of the fried Indian flatbread known as roti dressed with anything from blueberry compote, egg, and pandan egg custard to peanut butter, bananas, and whipped hazelnuts. There's also a solid menu of brunch cocktails.
Anu and Chris Elford's Belltown beer bar does a brunch that's a favorite amongst industry folks, but catching on with the population at large. Probably because of Instagram. Chef Jeffrey Vance's plates (wild mushroom hash, buttermilk pancakes with maple syrup and crispy pig ears...) are stunning. And, obviously, the drinks are on point.
On 14th Avenue, Greek brunch runs mostly savory: mezes, salads, larger plates bearing gyro or braised lamb and baked eggs. Not to worry, there's also a pastry menu of chocolate baklava, doughnuts, and a flaky pastry with honey and semolina custard known as bougatsa.
Cherry Street Coffee House's new concept in Pioneer Square serves an "Australian-style" breakfast and brunch menu with inflections of the Persian lunch menu. Get there on the early side for avocado or ricotta toast, and waffles both sweet (tahini butter, honey, rose, and pistachio) and savory (roasted squash, gruyere, pecans, chive cream cheese). Yes, there are cocktails and yes, the coffee offerings are superb.
In the Central District, Scott Staples's family friendly burger shop kicks off weekends with classic Americana: scrambles, biscuits and gravy, French toast, and a trio of straightforward, bodega-style egg and cheese sandwiches (add your pork of preference: ham, bacon, or sausage) on a kaiser roll. The restaurant also pours mimoas, micheladas, and coffee. Reminder: The original Redmond location doesn't offer brunch.
The menu at Bruce Naftaly's new Chophouse Row restaurant has been growing steadily; the chef modestly bills this place as a destination for soup, but on weekend mornings his kitchen puts a Northwest-Continental spin on familiar brunch tropes, like savor potato-and-chard pancakes, or rice fritters with a sour cherry compote that's like a thinking person's doughnut holes. Portions are not enormous, good or bad news depending on how productive you planned on being later in the day.
Down at the foot of Yesler (above Kraken Congee and not too far from the ferry terminal) dwells a charming, if oddly shaped restaurant that keeps things classic with brunch dishes like french toast, shrimp and grits, and eggs benedict. Simple stuff, yes, but made with care and garnished with lots of housemade elements.
Brian Clevenger knows what works on 19th Ave; he launched brunch about 10 seconds after he took over the former Ernest Loves Agnes space. Contadino applies a lightly Italian hand to brunch classics, like arugula and pork belly on a breakfast sandwich, or crispy pancakes with fruit, maple syrup, and ricotta cheese. Some of Contadino's pasta appears too, like semolina gnocchi with braised rabbit, topped with a poached egg. Smaller plates (grilled bread and jam, house sausage, rye toast with cream cheese, lox, and shallots) some cocktails, and a full espresso situation round things out.
On weekends, the Hotel Sorrento's restaurant brings in live jazz from 10:30 to 1:30 to accompany its brunch menu of brioche french toast, savory quinoa bowls, and short ribs with eggs. But if you really want to go big, the build-your-own brunch tower lets you assemble your own choices of cheese, charcuterie, toasts, and bites like deviled eggs. Why yes, there's a cocktail list.